I've always been attracted to the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice. Tennessee Williams' play, Orpheus Descending, (Williams' version not the Samuel French edition) is probably my favourite play - although it is not about the myth. But the intersections of myth, theatre and sex are probably where I exist the most.
In Virgil's myth of Orpheus, the love of his life, Eurydice (ya-rid-e-sea ), is pursued by Aristaeus on her wedding night. While fleeing, Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies. A distraught Orpheus descends into Hades and begs for Eurydice's life. Being denied his love, he plays the most beautifully mournful music on his lyre until Hades relents. Hades allows Eurydice to leave the underworld and follow Orpheus, but Orpheus must not look at Eurydice until they both reach the upper world. Orpheus's patience gets the better of him just as they are about to reach the land of the living, he looks back to make sure Eurydice is still with him. Orpheus' lack of faith in Hades' promise condemns Eurydice to the underworld thereafter.
From the moment I heard this myth, I wondered what Eurydice thought, felt, endured. We are only told this story from Orpheus' point of view. We never hear from Eurydice. Her fate is determined by others' actions.
Her name is derived from a Greek word having to do with far reaching justice. She is described as strangely beautiful and utterly graceful - so the stumble, when she flees, is significant beyond what most would think. When a woman walking down the street, trips it does not ripple through the universe; when a ballerina stumbles on stage, it does. That faltering moment - that ripple through the universe - of a strangely beautiful, utterly graceful, wood nymph, captured my imagination.
Eurydice falters and the snake takes his bite. Orpheus falters and Hades takes his prize. It's what we do after we falter - it's what we do once fate is decided for us - that matters.
I don't particularly like writing biographies. I never have. I like the work to speak for itself, but there is a purpose to this - the website, the writing, the podcasts, all of it - that I think deserves to be stated.
Until the time I lost my virginity, I had no interest in sex before marriage and I was anti-abortion. How I lost my virginity was my snake bite. Many other influences made me realise that all the structures and rules of society that I should have been able to rely on and that should have kept me safe were merely constructs and fabrications. There was absolutely nothing to rely on, life is utterly precarious, and everything is up for grabs. It was a descent into an underworld that existed simultaneously and on the same plain as the living world - but it was subverted, invisible to most, and while it was darkly depraved it was also liberated.
I like the underworld. When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80's, I was experimenting with and exploring my sexuality. What many may find surprising is how discreet I am (or have been) in the upper world. I had no problem with 'the closet' of the 80's & 90's. There is an analogous relationship between the gay closet and the fetish one. There is still a bi closet that I use when I want and need to, and there is a hetero closet where racks of non-monogamous shoes that don't exist in pairs line the walls, where leather and latex hang on meat hooks, and where ropes and chains and dildos fill drawers to over flowing. These closets are sacred. For me, they were never places to hide; they were places of freedom and unfettered hedonism, where judgement and righteousness was left at the door and curiosity and experimentation was encouraged and necessary.
I did not understand why opening those closet doors was so important to so many in the gay community. I championed those that wanted out, but I revolted against wanting the mainstream to come in. I feel the same about the hetero closet. There is a difference between Orpheus not being willing to live in the underworld and wanting Eurydice to come back to the upper world. Orpheus gets to make that choice for her because everyone thinks the upper world is so great and the underworld is lacking - but that's not necessarily true.
What's happened with the proliferation of porn and 50 Shades of Ick is an inundation of the living trampling through the underworld and a grotesque manipulation of sex, gender and sexuality in the upper world. Someone mutilated Cerberus, the three headed dog and guardian of the river that delineated the two worlds, and everything has run riot since.
I don't need or even want acceptance from anyone. That is not and never will be the reason for Eurydice Rising. But when I see and hear people condemning, judging, misinterpreting and misunderstanding my gender, my sex, my life and my lifestyle, I try to lend my voice, my experience, and my standing to the cause.
I also want to invite (never entice) those who are interested in the kinds of pleasure I have enjoyed and seek to indulge in the stories and erotica I tell. For those who are not interested in the underworld, you don't have to look or listen. Everyone enters at their own risk with the knowledge that some things can never be un-seen, un-heard, un-thought, un-imagined, or un-known - but that cannot mean they should not exist.
More than anything, I believe in generosity. Sharing my stories, my point of view, my interests, and my experiences is meant as an act of generosity. My hope is that other women will find a sister in me or at least an ally; that men will find a comrade; and that Eurydice Rising can be a resource.
My view of the world is unique - and that should be kept in mind. I am 50, bi-sexual, non-monogamous, single, and have no children. I was married twice. My second marriage was an open one. I do not practice polyamory - I am non-monogamous (yes, Dorothy, there is a difference). I am a theatre director, writer and teacher. For the boys in the back, I am not a MILF nor a cougar. I have lived a life. I have had unique experiences. I am not a guru, a sage or an expert on anything. I have strong opinions. You don't have to pay attention to any of this; that you choose to is up to you. You can walk away, but unlike Orpheus, don't look back.